Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by Angela Vaz
It can feel like a punch to the gut.
I know because I’ve been there, and my marriage ended when I found my ex-partner cheating on me.
I did get over my ex, and in this post, I will explain how I found out, what I did to heal, and help you understand how to get over a cheating ex.
A little backstory:
I usually don’t make my posts extremely personal, but I realize that you will not find any of this information useful unless you know that I have been in the same shoes as you. Skip if you want to get to the tips straight away.
So, here’s my story.
I remember that day like it was yesterday – 13th October 2019. I was trying to pay a bill on my ex’s laptop when I found his Web Whatsapp open.
There were multiple photos of him and the woman he was cheating on me with, in our home.
He would call her over every time I went to the hospital to care for my sick mom.
I found out that it had been going on for two whole years – which was half our marriage.
He was planning on running away with her and her two children, and neither her husband nor I knew about the affair.
I took both of my dogs and got out as fast as possible. I took a new apartment for rent, hired some packers and movers, and moved out within three days.
My marriage wasn’t solid by any account. I had endured physical and emotional abuse, but I stuck on because I was a coward, too afraid to leave.
The cheating came to me like a blessing because it was just the push I needed to leave that marriage – something I should have done a long, long time ago.
It took me some time to grapple with the situation because it felt like a nightmare for weeks.
I remember sleeping on my parents’ bedroom floor with my dogs because I couldn’t muster sleeping alone.
I had loads of sleepless nights, lost over 20 pounds in 2 weeks, and lost interest in my work which I loved so much.
My parents and my dogs were my rock during that difficult time. Eventually, my friends (people I had not spoken to in years due to my relationship) stepped in and gave me strength.
I took a couple of months to get over it, and although I did make a few mistakes, I’m going to cover how I got over it and how you can get over your cheating ex quickly to heal and find happiness again.
But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.
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How long does it take to get over a cheating ex?
Understand that every person and every relationship is different.
You may have had a lot of love for your partner and may have been entirely blind-sided when you found them cheating. In this case, it may take you a lot of time to grapple with the situation and make peace with it.
Some take a few months; some take 1-2 years.
Either way, please know that you will get through this and get over your cheating ex.
You don’t need to set a time frame for your healing.
Additionally, you will focus on other things and find happiness. The memories will fade over time, and the hurt will erode slowly till it’s been replaced with other beautiful memories.
Although my ex and I had been together for over nine years, I slowly lost respect and love for him as the emotional and physical abuse increased over time.
So, this made it somewhat easier for me to get over him and find peace – it took me a few months. But I can say that it took me a little over a year to get over the incident completely.
Countless people have been in your shoes; they’ve been cheated on.
How to get over a cheating ex – 17 crucial steps and stages you will go through
1. You are going to cry, let it happen
Disbelief, shock, anger, hurt, and sadness will wash over you in waves.
One moment you will feel like your chest will explode from the overwhelming feeling of betrayal and hurt, and the next, you will feel numb due to crying incessantly.
Let it happen.
It is essential to let it all out.
You are going to feel multiple emotions and feelings. Thoughts will flood your mind, and you will try to connect the dots and figure out when your partner lied and cheated on you.
Your head will be filled with multiple questions like:
- Was I not good enough for them?
- Didn’t they say that they only loved me?
- Wasn’t our love enough?
- Why couldn’t they just be honest with me and tell me how they really felt?
- How could they do this to me after everything I did for them?
You may even envision running your ex over with a car.
Know that you are not your thoughts and feelings. You are merely hurt and betrayed.
And you’re going to feel absolutely pissy for a while. You cannot rush this process.
So, let those feelings wash over you and know that it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling.
You may even feel like venting to a few close friends or your family.
It’s alright to do that when you just find out.
However, remember that there is nothing in this world you cannot get over. Time does indeed heal all wounds.
And having gone through a lot of loss, I can tell you that it is the truth.
2. Do not try to seek revenge – it will not help you
In most of the cheating cases, I have found that people who cheat do so because of low self-esteem.
They don’t feel highly worthy, and in an attempt to feel like they’ve still got it, they cheat.
Sometimes, they don’t get what they want from their relationship with you. Perhaps they were unhappy with the relationship or felt like they were not getting enough attention from you.
Instead of communicating with you or ending the relationship gracefully, they resort to cheating.
Either way, understand that it is not your fault.
You are also dealing with a human being who cannot process their emotions healthily, so don’t try to seek revenge. It is not going to help you or them.
By taking out your anger on your ex, you are only delaying your healing.
Be the bigger person and walk away.
After all, they are human. Yes, they have wronged you. But there is nothing you can do to reverse the damage.
You cannot change the past. So learn to let go of the past so you can move forward with your life.
At this point, it is your present and future that you need to look forward to and change.
You need to focus on healing so you can become yourself again.
So, learn to let it go because you are worth so much more.
3. You may or may not get closure – it doesn’t matter
Whether or not you get closure, learn to let it go.
You can try asking your ex why they cheated. They may give you multiple reasons like:
- I got bored. I didn’t know what to do.
- She understood me better. You didn’t.
- I felt lonely. You didn’t give me time so I felt I deserved better.
- I felt like I couldn’t talk to you.
There may have been multiple reasons why they cheated. They may even try to reconcile.
None of these responses will make you feel better. It may either hurt you or trigger your defense mechanism to retort back with arguments that will go nowhere.
Either way, it doesn’t matter. You cannot undo the cheating that has happened.
Your ex may try to blame you or gaslight you.
Understand that this person couldn’t communicate their needs to you. Even if they tried and you weren’t responding, they should have ended the relationship with you before cheating.
Remember that you are worth the truth.
All you can do is connect the dots and keep a note of what went wrong and start picking up on the red flags in future relationships.
You cannot change or undo the past.
So, don’t try to make them feel guilty for what has happened or try to force an apology from them.
It is not going to reverse what has happened and fix the relationship. The trust is broken and it’s over.
4. Knowing that what has happened is a blessing in disguise
It’s better to have found out now than ten years later.
That’s what many people told me when I discovered my ex was cheating on me.
And yes, it did make me feel better.
I felt liberated to know that I’ve saved myself from years of being in an unfulfilling relationship.
You deserve to know the truth. And whether they told you or you found out about the cheating, be grateful that it did happen, and you are now able to close that book and move on to a new chapter.
It can be incredibly tempting to be filled with thoughts like:
- They said that they’d be with me forever, but they cheated.
- They said I was the only person they loved, but it was not true.
- I gave them everything, why did they leave?
Understand that this is NOT you. It’s them.
The relationship has ended because they didn’t have the courage to talk to you or respect you enough to tell you the truth.
It had nothing to do with you. They decided to cheat.
Unhealthy and toxic relationships can be incredibly frustrating to get over. Still, it is possible with enough time and distance from the relationship, you will get over your cheating ex.
5. Cut off all contact with your ex
If you have children or have unresolved issues that you need to discuss, then only discuss that and nothing else.
Make sure that all conversations are to the point.
Keep all other lines of communication closed.
They may try to apologize or ask you to take them back.
Do not be tempted to go back to your ex – you are only setting yourself up for more disappointment and hurt.
Remember that they broke your trust and lied to you more than them cheating. They disrespected you and your relationship with them.
The more you see your ex, stalk them or watch their status, the more tempted you will be to talk to them.
Understand that there is no such thing as perfect closure.
Just close the door and move on.
It can be tempting to know what their relationship status is or whether or not they got together with the person they were having an affair with, but ask yourself, “How will this help me?”
You don’t know their story and you cannot control them or their lives.
All you know is that this person and you were not meant to be together in a relationship. If it were, it wouldn’t have come to an end.
Make peace with the relationship ending and let the other person move on.
Let them live the lives they want to live.
And you do whatever is necessary to move on and heal so you can rebuild that faith and love you’ve lost in life and yourself.
If you are married and/or have children, you will have to communicate with them till the divorce or custody battle is finalized. In that case, only talk to them about the procedures and remember to keep all conversations strictly formal.
If possible, have all communications go through with a lawyer so you don’t have to talk to them at all.
6. It is okay to still love them
You can love someone and miss them and still not be with them.
This is okay.
You’ve built your whole life with this person in your head. Dreams and plans have been shattered in a mere second.
So, understand that your love for them will not go away in an instant. We are not light switches that can be turned on and off.
It will take time to move on from this person.
You may miss them terribly or crave to talk to them – you’re going to go through withdrawal symptoms, but this is okay.
A breakup or a divorce is just as difficult to get over as it is to stop doing drugs.
Our brains are so used to having that person around that it will become almost unbearable to suddenly start living alone.
But it is possible.
Know that you deserve better. You don’t deserve to be lied to or cheated on. You deserve a partner that loves you and has the decency to talk to you when things are going sour.
So, it’s perfectly alright to have feelings for them. But know that having a relationship with them is not in your best interest and make peace with it.
This will help you heal and get over your ex-partner.
7. Do not regret your relationship with them
Sometimes, we miss the red flags when we decide to date someone or marry them.
It happens to the best of us.
What’s important to note is that every decision does lead to some sort of consequence. You’ve walked away with important lessons that will be with you for a long time.
You loved with a whole heart, and nobody can take that away from you.
So, don’t regret what has happened.
Be grateful that you got to walk away when you did.
Perhaps your relationship taught you to be patient and kind.
Perhaps your relationship allowed you to become more empathetic to others who have been through the same ordeal.
Either way, take the good and leave the bad.
This is the best way to heal and get over a cheating ex.
8. Don’t give up on people
I remember some of my close family and friends telling me that “All men cheat.”
And I’d correct them and say, “Not all men cheat. It was just unfortunate that I was in a relationship with one.”
Understand that you will go through pain.
You’ve just been betrayed and everything you believed to be true about your partner’s love for you has now been tarnished.
It may corrupt how you view humanity.
This is normal.
It is normal to start questioning people’s intentions and have trust issues right after leaving a toxic relationship.
But just because you had a rotten potato doesn’t mean the field is full of garbage.
Telling yourself that everyone is a cheater will put a negative vibe out into the world.
It may even cause you to attract more cheaters and dishonest folks.
So, do yourself a favor and have faith in humanity.
Most people are inherently good people. And there are many good people out there who have been hurt and are looking for someone to love.
So, don’t let go of that hope.
Perhaps you aren’t ready to date now or look for love. And that’s completely okay.
Take your time to heal from this incident so that you can put it in the past and move on in your life.
At this point in time, you are important.
So focus on fixing what is broken and try to feel whole again. You’re worth that much.
And once you do heal, you will start seeing the world through a new pair of eyes and realize just how beautiful the world is.
9. Rejection is something you will learn to love
It can be excruciating to know that you have been cheated on.
I don’t deny it.
But take this rejection as a sign that this relationship was not meant for you.
Whether you found out on your own or your ex confessed, you just found out the truth.
The truth is liberating, and it will set you free.
It is undoubtedly painful and will take some time to get over, but you’ve just realized that this person was not meant for you.
Sometimes, what we want and what we need are two entirely different things. And it takes some amount of self-restraint and letting go of control to realize this.
Take comfort in the fact that you now have an answer – that you’re not mindlessly wondering if this relationship will work or not.
Think back to when the relationship didn’t make sense, or you felt like you were not getting what you wanted.
Think back to how uncertain you felt during those times.
You now have your answer.
And yes, you will find peace.
Take the rejection as a blessing and move on.
10. Invest in other relationships
Your relationship with your partner has ended.
Perhaps they were your whole world. But this has taught you an important lesson – do not make someone your entire world.
Learn to focus your love and your well-being on different areas of your life like:
- Your relationship with your family and friends
- Passions and goals that you’ve worked hard on and keep you going
- The work that you love and is strengthening your finances
- Your relationship with your pets
No doubt, one area of your life is extremely rocky and messed up. That doesn’t mean that you should forego everything else and wait for it to all come crashing down on you.
Your life is worth much more than your relationship with your ex.
Your life is worth so much more than this one person who has hurt you.
So, invest in other relationships. Ask yourself what different fulfilling roles you have in your life.
Perhaps you can focus on being a good sibling or a good parent.
Perhaps you can be a better friend to your friends.
Or maybe you can be a better child.
Either way, you will find your way back to yourself and learn that life is worth a lot despite losing your relationship with your ex.
Start rebuilding all the other channels in your life that suffered due to the relationship.
Start doing more of what makes you happy.
11. Look within for answers
If the cheating has happened relatively recently, you may not make proper conclusions. They will be biased based on your emotions or what people around you tell you.
But know this, a relationship takes two people to work.
Perhaps your partner cheated on you. But was there something that you could have done better?
You can look into this yourself or get a counselor or therapist to help you with it.
Do not blame yourself for the cheating. But maybe the relationship ending had more to do with the two of you than just your partner alone.
You shouldn’t blame them entirely. At the same time, you shouldn’t victimize yourself and feel like you were the reason they cheated.
At the end of the day, all you can do is walk away from this whole thing with the lessons you’ve learned.
Self-analyzing and introspecting will help you become a better person and help you heal and figure out how to become better at relationships.
Try to focus on yourself and see how you can change.
Life is a learning experience, and we should focus on becoming better people.
12. Find yourself
If you were in a toxic relationship and ignored your needs and wants throughout the relationship, it is now time to focus on yourself.
Make time for the things you love.
Start doing things that you’ve pushed aside for your partner’s benefit – things that you’ve wanted to do.
If you loved drawing and never had time to do it, pick up those pencils and get to work.
If you loved dancing, but your partner never let you, join some dance classes.
You are now your priority.
And you should focus on yourself!
I have a few posts here that will help you:
- Struggling with singleness? Read this to feel better!
- The only dating advice you need as a single person
- 35 things you should do as a single person to make you happy!
- How to love yourself as a single person
- How I combatted loneliness and learned to be happy alone
13. Find peace and love within yourself
This is something I do every single day, and it helped me find peace and love.
Journal and meditate.
Journal every single day. Some things you can do with your journal are:
- Write down your thoughts and feelings.
- Go through difficult questions you’ve never really asked yourself.
- Just write down what you did that day.
- Answer some self-love journal prompts
Write down whatever you feel like.
It will not only help you get a load off your chest, but it will help you find peace.
Looking back at those pages, I realize how much I’ve changed and how much I‘ve healed since then.
It is incredible how much we can endure as human beings.
And journaling is one of the best ways to heal emotionally.
I also focused on reading self-love books. Because as people who have been cheated on, we need to love ourselves now more than ever.
Learn from those who have conquered this particular hurdle by reading books on self-love and peace.
It may even help you forgive the person who has hurt you.
Meditate – meditation allows you to feel all your feelings, emotions, and thoughts and disassociate from them.
It helps you find peace and serenity despite what is happening in your life and better control your thoughts and feelings.
Get the Headspace app and use the guided meditation for no more than 5 minutes a day.
Build up that practice slowly or continue to meditate for 5-10 minutes daily. That’s all you need, and it will make a massive difference in your life.
Meditating helped me become more understanding and it did wonders for my sleep.
14. Do not date till you have healed
Your self-confidence may be broken.
You may feel highly tempted to date and find love again.
Don’t do this till you have healed completely.
Remember, your emotions and feelings are all over the place at this point. You will not be able to see things from a clear perspective.
This means that you may fall for anyone who lends you a sympathetic ear or is kind to you.
Additionally, you are not capable of having a whole and complete relationship right now because you will dump a lot of emotional baggage on your next partner.
This is not fair to them or you.
So avoid dating for a while.
Focus on yourself just for a little while.
And know that when the time is right, you can go out to date and find love again.
Here are a couple of posts you may find helpful:
- 35 honest ways to get your life together
- 13 signs you are healing from a painful breakup
- How to trust the process and just let go
- How to live alone and not be lonely
- The Ultimate guide to letting go of the past
- 15 ways to get a fresh start this year
- How to create a plan and stick to it
15. Learn more about love
This is something I’ve learned only in the last two years of my life – if you can’t be happy on your own, you shouldn’t look for a relationship.
Nobody can make you happy except yourself.
Your happiness and love should come from within.
Only then will you find true love.
Because when we don’t love ourselves as much as we should, we start settling for less.
We become so desperate to find love and find a partner that we start sacrificing and over-compromising our needs and wants to be in a relationship.
This will lead to the relationship ending at some point in the future.
So, take your time to study and understand love.
I’m sorry to say this, but the media portrays a very wrong notion of love.
Almost every rom-com I’ve watched or chick flick I’ve read shows a person falling in love right after their previous relationship ends.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
You cannot find true love if you’re brooding or hurting because that is not the real you.
You need to heal and find happiness again, and you need to be okay on your own.
Only then will your positivity and happiness attract someone worthy of your love.
So, take some time to fall in love with yourself.
Take some time to find out what you want in a relationship and mull over it from time to time.
Knowing what you want will help you find a better partner in the future.
16. Create new goals for yourself
Take some time to draft yourself some new goals.
It can be physical goals – for instance; you can start focusing on becoming fitter and healthier.
Perhaps you can focus on building a new skill like learning a musical instrument or writing poetry. You can take online classes to help you with this.
Here are some personal goal examples to help you draft your own.
Either way, try to find a new meaning to life by finding things you are passionate about and then doing them.
Some posts to help you do this:
- 7 ways to feel energized in the morning without caffeine
- How to enjoy the simple things in life
- How to make every single day count
- 13 easy ways to be mentally present every day
17. Get a therapist if it’s becoming too much
If you find it difficult to move on and find closure, or you’re just too overwhelmed with many emotions, it may be time to step up and ask for help.
Get a therapist.
A therapist will listen to you without judgment and help you understand what to do next to heal faster.
They will also guide you and help you overcome this particular hurdle.
There are some things we just cannot do on our own.
Conclusion on how to get over a cheating ex
By no means is learning how to get over a cheating ex easy.
If it were easy, it wouldn’t be called heartbreak.
It happens to most people at some point in their lives, and honestly, whatever doesn’t break you only makes you stronger.
You will get over this, and you will find love again if you wish to be in a loving and caring relationship.
In late 2021, I found love. We both had been through our fair share of hurt, and our friendship slowly blossomed into love.
We’ve been dating for almost a year now, and I am grateful that my life has led me to this very moment.
I have no regrets.
So take it from someone who has loved and lost and found love again: You will get through this. And you will be okay.
You will get over your ex, you will build up that love and self-esteem you lost all over again, and someday when the time is right, you will find a partner who deserves you.
Frequently asked questions
1. Do exes who cheated come back?
It really is a difficult question to answer because everyone is built differently. Sometimes they won’t, and sometimes they will.
Either way, you cannot focus on that because you don’t deserve to be with someone who cannot give you their all.
It doesn’t matter if they ever realize their mistake or what they did to hurt you.
That is not on you, and you shouldn’t look back at all or expect your partner to come back.
It can be tempting to want some kind of closure, but if you’re going to depend on that, you will never fully heal.
Remember that you deserve so much more than what you got.
You deserve a loyal, honest partner who is good at communicating with you.
You are worth a loving and caring relationship.
2. Do exes feel guilty?
Most of the people who cheat do feel guilty at some point.
Some feel bad when they recollect how much they lied and snuck around.
But a lot of them feel guilty only after they’re caught.
Many people lie and cheat because they can’t handle being honest. Sometimes they believe that they’re doing the right thing because they feel they might hurt their partner if they told them the truth.
Either way, it does not matter because you don’t deserve to be with someone who cannot respect you.
3. How do you make an ex regret losing you?
If you are trying to get your cheating ex to notice how much happier and better you are without them; then the fact is that you are not yet over them.
So, focus on your life and focus on being happy.
You have nothing to prove to anyone.
The best revenge is success.
So, focus on living in the moment, loving yourself, and healing to move on from the breakup/divorce.
4. How do I know when I’ve gotten over my ex?
When you can look back at the moment and feel no anger towards that incident or realize that it was just never meant to be, you’ll know you’re over your ex.
You may not want them to be incredibly happy, and that’s okay… you’re human.
But at the same time, you won’t wish any ill on them and be able to picture them with other people without being jealous; you’ll know that you’ve moved on and are ready to find love again.
5. Do cheaters get their karma?
I don’t really believe in karma, but yes, in a way, they will get what’s coming to them.
Not because someone is watching over them or there are forces in the universe that will make them trip over a branch and land face-first into poo but because of their inability to deal with the truth.
People who cheat have low self-esteem. They also lack good communication skills.
They’re never quite happy with themselves, so they’re always looking for someone or something better.
This leads to them never finding happiness and never being fulfilled – physically or emotionally.
So, in a way, they will never really be happy until they learn to love with a whole heart and respect their partners.
Here are some posts that might help you:
- 13 signs of unrequited love and how to let go
- 13 signs you’re healing from your breakup
- My cheating ex wants to get back together, what do I do?
- I caught him cheating, what I did to stop overthinking
- What I did to get over the fear of being cheated on
- How to recover and heal from a toxic relationship
- These toxic communication patterns are ruining your relationship. Read to learn how to fix it
- How to patiently wait for love when you’re tired of being single
- The best dating advice for single women you’ll ever hear
- The Single Girl’s bucket list: 35 exciting things to do
- How to stop letting things bother you
- The ultimate guide to getting over heartbreak and finding happiness again
- 35 honest ways to get your life together
- How to trust the process and just let go
- How to live alone and not be lonely
- The Ultimate Guide to letting go of the past
- 15 ways to get a fresh start this year
- How to create a plan and stick to it